Minneapolis will be buzzing next week as the biggest stars in Major League Baseball will be in the Twin Cities for the All-Star Game. It’s a fun-filled time for baseball fans with many things planned, including the Celebrity Softball Game, Futures Game and Homerun Derby leading up to Tuesday night’s game.
Those are just some of many events planned as the baseball spotlight shines on Minneapolis. It prompted us to ponder some of the great All-Star moments in history for the Twins organization. Here are five of the best, and hopefully Brizn Dozier, Kurt Suzuki and Glen Perkins make a few more Twins memories next week.
Kirby Puckett Wins All-Star Game MVP (1993)
Kirby Puckett was always a fan favorite for the Twins when you combined his ability on the field, love for baseball and outgoing personality. In 12 major league seasons, he participated in 10 straight All-Star Games with six straight starts in the outfield. The highlight of his All-Star career had to be 1993, when he batted sixth and won MVP honors. In that game, Puckett hit a solo homerun, double and two RBI. Puckett is tied with Harmon Killebrew for the most All-Star Game appearances for the Twins with 10.
Justin Morneau Wins Homerun Derby (2008)
2008 might be one of the few years where a lot of people don’t remember who won the homerun derby because of another amazing individual performance. In Yankee Stadium, Josh Hamilton hit 28 home runs in the first round of the contest, but Morneau beat him in the final round 5-3 to win the competition. Hamilton’s performance stole the show, but Morneau’s win made Twins fans proud. The next night, Morneau scored the game-winning run on a sacrifice fly and play at the plate to give the American League the victory.
Joe Mauer’s First All-Star Game (2006)
Twins fans take a special pride in Joe Mauer’s baseball success, being a St. Paul native. He was selected to his first All-Star Game in 2006 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. He’s played in five total All-Star Games and in 2012, he played first base and got a single. He also competed in the 2009 homerun derby, where he hit five dingers in the first round but it was not enough to advance.
Torii Hunter Competes In Home Run Derby (2002)
For Twins fans, Torii Hunter reminded them a lot of Kirby Puckett. Hunter plays the game hard, the right away and always seems to have a smile on his face while he’s doing it. Hunter was drafted by the Twins in 1993 and made his debut in 1997. He was selected to the American League All-Star Team in 2002 and participated in the homerun derby at Miler Park in Milwaukee. He hit three home runs and didn’t make it past the first round. In the All-Star Game itself, Hunter put the Twins on the map by robbing Barry Bonds of a home run at Miller Park.
Metrodome Hosts All-Star Game (1985)
We make fun of the Metrodome for the dump that it was. The facility was meant for football, though even for that it wasn’t the greatest stadium out there. That made it even worse for baseball, but it was good enough to host a Super Bowl and the 1985 All-Star Game. The National League won the game 6-1. Jack Morris, who at one point was a Twins pitcher but was in this game as a Detroit Tiger, was the starting pitcher. The only Minnesota Twins player selected for the game was Tom Brunansky, who was taken as a reserve outfielder.
The winner of this year’s All-Star Game will have home field advantage for the team from that league that advances to the World Series. Twins’ manager Ron Gardenhire will be in assistant coach, with Suzuki and Perkins being chosen as reserves. It’s a safe bet that with the game being in Minneapolis, the Twins players will get some field action.